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THE DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
 
11th December 17
 

It’s that time of year again where I feel like I can’t really post anything on my blog unless it’s either reflective of 2017 or discussing plans for 2018. As far as years go, 2017 hasn’t been a bad one at all. In fact, it’s been the first year in an amazingly long time that I’ve actually felt on my feet for the majority of it. Of course, it’s had its highs and lows, but working full time and having a schedule as well as some money coming in has really helped me to start to feel a little more on top of my life than I was feeling towards the end of 2016. Comparing 2017 to 2016, I can see that I’ve come miles. My head is in a better place, my finances are in a better place. I’ve done a lot of things that I never thought I would have been able to manage in 2016. And I’m still here. So that definitely counts for something, doesn’t it?

 

My mental health is the most unpredictable thing I’ve got going for me. I’m not much of a spontaneous person, but boy is my anxiety. In 2017, I’ve learnt that maybe me and my weird old brain don’t know what’s best for me just yet, and I should definitely spend a little more time listening to other peoples advise. At the end of 2016, I had to move back to my parents home after living alone at uni for 3 years. It pushed me steps back mentally and made me feel like a complete failure. My mental health towards the end of 2016 spiralled because I really thought that me moving home meant that I was doing something wrong. That I’d taken steps backwards and had lost an independent part of myself which was vital to the person who I’d become. I literally felt like I didn’t know who I was anymore. I ended 2016 feeling dark, low and depressed because I thought I had failed.

 
 

See, I have this weird issue where I forget that I have my whole life ahead of me to achieve things. It’s one of the parts of me which really affects my anxiety and mood, because I can’t accept the idea that progression can take time and has both ups and downs – it isn’t an easy uphill ride the entire way. So I left 2016 feeling like I didn’t really want to be here anymore. Like I’d used up all of the happiness I had and that I was now resigned to a life of feeling numb. I closed myself off from people, lost friends and made no effort with myself or anyone else around me. I abandoned blogging, I stopped reading. I boxed up my creativity and without it, I stopped blooming.

 

Now, I’m not really sure how things began to turn around in 2017, but somehow slowly, they did. I plodded along through January and February, still feeling numb and much of the same, but after my 22nd birthday, something changed. I realised that the main thing which was making me feel sad was myself and that if I wanted to start feeling like ‘me’ again, whatever that meant, then I needed to start actively making changes to my mindset. So I sat down and started making lists of everything and anything I wanted to be able to say that I’d achieved in 2017.

 

My list included things such as: Read 24 books (so far this year I’ve read 40!), publish one blog post a week (I’ve almost managed to stick to this one, and I’ve compromised with myself by blogging every day in October instead), go on holiday with friends (this year I’ve visited Copenhagen, Paris and Nice with my nearest and dearest), go freelance (this one hasn’t happened completely yet, but I did manage to bag a heck of a lot of freelance gigs this year which I’m hugely proud of) and buy a new car (Seb the mini is new best friend forever).

 

Of course there are things on that list which I’ve not achieved yet and I do still go through days of beating myself up over the fact that they’re still things that I’m waiting to master. But what’s different now is that I know that they’re things that I’m working towards and that I eventually will achieve. They’re not possibly’s and maybe’s anymore.

 
 
 

I’m not the type of person to brag at all. In fact, I hate talking about myself so much that I pretty much only ever do it on my blog or social media (where, granted, I am an epic over-sharer). However, I am the type of person who can recognise progression and be proud of it, even when it’s my own. Creating this game plan of things which I wanted to gain from 2017 suddenly injected meaning back into my life which this time last year, I was completely lacking. It’s made me feel more like myself again and like I actually had something worthwhile to do with my time. These little tasks that I’d set for myself made me realise that moving home was not something which had turned me into a failure, but was actually a pretty smart decision which has allowed me to get back on my feet.

 

This last year of letting go of a little bit of my independence has taken an immense amount of pressure off of me and I’ve managed to rid myself of any shame which I was once letting that cause. Because I’ve realised that it’s actually okay to ask for help. It’s okay to rely on people when you’re starting to go downhill and it’s completely fine to take a year out just to work on yourself. In fact, it’s more than okay. It’s probably the best thing which I could have done for myself this year.

 

Because it’s just a year. A year in which I’ve had time to plot and plan ahead for next year and what 2018 may have to bring. I’ve been able to save money to fuel next years adventures, whatever they may be. Travelling, investing in my own place, starting up my own business. These aren’t scary things that I need to let push me into another sad hole. They’re things to plan for, save for, and most importantly, look forward to.

 

So if you’re still here reading what has turned into a weirdly self-indulgent rant, thank you. I guess this is kind of me reassuring myself, and partly me telling you that whatever is going on in your life right now, it’s going to get better. It might take a few months of you finding your feet again and going through some pretty dark spots, however a year from now, you’ll look back on yourself and you’ll feel proud that you made it through. Take it from me, a year makes all the difference.

 
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